Thanks to a partnership between the Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT), Onondaga County, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Otisco Shores Conservation Area is now formally open to the public. The 35-acre property is the first new Onondaga County Park to be established in more than 20 years.
FLLT acquired the parcel in 2020 from the estate of William “Bill” Henderson, utilizing grant support from New York State’s Water Quality Improvement Program. The site was then conveyed to Onondaga County in early June 2022, subject to a perpetual conservation easement held by the FLLT. Representatives of the organization recently joined county and state officials and members of the Otisco Lake Preservation Association for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the new park.
Located at the southeastern end of Otisco Lake, the park is open to the public during daylight hours for hiking, wildlife watching, and fishing. The property, which can be accessed from Otisco Valley Road, features 2,000 feet of shoreline and provides habitat for waterfowl, Ospreys, and Bald Eagles. Before transferring the land, the FLLT planted hundreds of native trees and shrubs and established a mowed path to provide access to the lakeshore.
Conservation easements are voluntary legal agreements that permanently limit future land use in order to protect the land’s conservation value. Lands subject to conservation easements remain in private ownership, on local tax rolls, and available for traditional uses such as farming and hunting.